It has now been more than ten years since Torbay voted to have an elected Mayor On the 5th May you will get the opportunity to decide whether you wish to keep the current Mayoral system or vote for a Leader and cabinet. The Liberal Democrats are the only party on Torbay Council fully committed to axing the elected Mayor. We feel that this system is wrong because there is:
• Too much power in the hands of one person.
• Too much patronage
• Too much depending on who is elected.
Leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council, Steve Darling, said, “Far from being the land of milk and honey that the campaigners who suggested having a Mayor claimed it would be, we have suffered from two elected Mayors out of touch with the needs of Torbay. The first appeared to be addicted to the use of consultants and obsessed with his' Mayoral vision' that would have over-developed Torbay. The second is even more out of touch, spending millions on the installation of beach huts and nothing on housing for local people.
In fact, the last 10 years with an elected Mayor have proved to be a nightmare for those most in need in Torbay with the cutting of budgets for the vulnerable and deprived in our community. A Mayor that values palm trees more than services to local people is of no use to Torbay.
In the last few months there has been civil war between the majority of the Conservative group on the Council and Gordon Oliver’s supporters, who are mostly in receipt of special responsibility allowances. With Conservatives more interested in in-fighting rather than serving our community it is time to end this Mayoral madness”
Torquay Liberal Democrats commemorated a fourth summer of closure for Torquay's Pavillion with a “birthday cake”.
Ellacombe Liberal Democrat councillor Cindy Stocks said, “I regularly receive complaints from residents who are concerned that this iconic building is being left to rot by our Conservative-run council. When I checked to see how long it had been closed, I was shocked to learn that this summer will see the fourth year of the Pavilion being locked and barred to the public. I have fond memories of being entertained at this venue by pantomimes, concerts and even a national radio show where my father won a television. It is sad how this building is just left empty”
Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council have backed a cross party call-in regarding a feasibility study that would cost the cash strapped Council £10,000. Liberal Democrat Councillor for Ellacombe Cindy Stocks said “We are not against the development of a helipad but feel that if it is such a good idea the private sector should fund it rather than the Mayor 'magic'-ing up the money when the Council had not agreed to this. “
She Went on to say “Essential Services such as street cleaning and pot hole repairs are all facing cuts and yet the Conservative elected Mayor plans to splash out £10,000 on what would appear to many to be a vanity project.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition Group on Torbay Council Steve Darling, who also has signed the call-in, said “This means that no action can be taken on the implementation of this decision. The Overview and Scrutiny Board will meet on Wednesday 6 January at 10.00 a.m. to consider the call-in.“
The wording for the call-in is as follows.
Helicopter Landing Facility in Torbay – Funding for Feasibility Study
Reasons for call-in:
The undersigned consider that the decision made by the Mayor on 14 December 2015 to request the Chief Finance Officer to allocate £10,000 from the 2015/2016 Corporate Management budget to enable officers to carry out a feasibility study to explore the potential and the delivery of a helipad in Torbay is contrary to the Policy Framework and contrary to (or not wholly in accordance with) the Council’s Budget.
We therefore request the Overview and Scrutiny Board to seek advice from the Monitoring Officer, the Chief Finance Officer, other officers, the Mayor and members as appropriate and to determine whether the matter should be referred to Council for consideration.”
Torbay Council agreed, at Octobers Full Council meeting, by the Chairman’s casting vote, to hold a referendum as to whether Torbay should have an elected Mayor or a Leader and Cabinet system.
The vote will be held next May at the same time as the Police and Crime Commissioners elections to reduce the cost of the referendum.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council Steve Darling said, “53% of the public wanted a Committee System. The Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council backed this and felt that we could dramatically reduce the cost that had been suggested for this system. Sadly, an alliance between the Conservatives and Brixham independents forced through the alternative system of Leader and Cabinet.” We now need to work with other groups on the Council to try to ensure that the Leader and Cabinet system that will be voted on next May is more reflective of the Committee System that the public actually wanted.”
At Torbay Council`s meeting in September, Conservative - controlled Torbay Council withdrew the item on holding a mayoral referendum to abolish the mayoral system. The following day Liberal Democrat Councillors on Torbay Council lodged a motion forcing the Council to hold a vote on holding a mayoral referendum at the next Full Council on 22 October 2015.
The Liberal Democrats are the only party on Torbay Council fully committed to axing the Elected Mayor. We feel that this system is undemocratic by its nature and concentrates too much power in one person. It is an unnecessary additional cost to local tax payers.